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first time buyers - buy land and then build modular or custom home?

We are first time home buyers, and our second choice is buying an existing home and remodeling to our liking.  First choice is buying a piece of property that we like and then building a home on it, either modular or custom.  We hope to buy the land now and build within 5 years (we should have enough saved by then to essentially build with cash, without a mortgage).  We have found many plots for sale in locations we like for prices we can afford.  Most of these properties, however, seem to be in "neighborhoods" of sorts.  That is, large plots of land with long driveways and signs advertising "perfect location for custom home," etc.  So, with that in mind, we have a few questions.

A) are there requirements in "neighborhoods" like these to build homes of certain value or size?
B) are there requirements to build homes within a certain timeframe on this type of plot?
C) assuming that the answer to B is either "no" or a reasonable timeframe, what happens if we decide a few years down the line that we want to sell the land rather than build, any issues with that?
D) any other good resources for people looking to build custom (which does not always translate to huge or fancy) homes?

Thanks!!
  • May 18 - US
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Answers (3)

From my experience its NOT best to buy land and build on your first home. It just does not seem to work out- much better to try it on your second or third home - youll have more experience with home ownership at that point, and more likely to know where you want to live and what type of home you want. Ive seen too many half built homes from brand new homeowners......
  • May 18
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The answer to your questions are different for EACH and every lot.

You or an agent , must determine these for each lot you are looking at.
 
Some are so strict you not only have months to build, but must even have the builder approved, and even choose from  a list of "Community" plans .

Others such as Rural, you can do what ever you want, or nothing at all.
 
But you must verify each one you look at, make 0 assumptions about it, the utilities availability or any thing.
  • May 18
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Your best bet is to hire a buyer's agent to help you through this. In short, some deeds have restrictions as to size and style of home, some don't. A custom home can be small, medium or large, 1, 1.5, 2 or 3 story or whatever you want. That's the definition of custom. Some plots of land require you to use the builder who owns the land (exclusive builder), some say builder of your choice. There are no hard and fast rules. Usually if a builder owns the land, it's to build a home on it and if it's in a development of like-style homes, that's usually a restriction in who the builder sells to but sometimes it's written right into the deed.

Because each parcel of land is unique, it would really benefit you to have a buyer's agent.
  • May 18
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